Today marks the end of the clothes portion of Jen Hatmaker’s “7 Experiment.”
What stood out to me the most in the study this week is when Jen has the reader complete this sentence: “What I want my clothes to communicate about me is…” Without even thinking about it I wrote, “…that I’m interesting, cool, someone special and worthwhile.” Whoa, a bit heavier than I anticipated. The time I spend thinking about clothes, looking at fashion blogs and magazines, and desires to continue shopping come from a place of insecurity.
I struggle with the widely shared insecurity that there isn’t anything about me to like. I don’t have a ‘thing’, i.e. I am not a skilled painter, musician, tri-lingual, world traveler, (fill in the blank), etc. I hated having to answer what my hobbies were because I never had an answer or anything to share. Unless, well, binge watching Netflix and wasting time on blogs count? I tried to put together stylish or quirky outfits to ‘express’ myself to make up for my lack of interesting extracurricular. I then tried to fashion blog to make it the part of me that was interesting. It still felt empty though, I was just fooling myself.
Jen makes the point too that for many the major motivators of what we wear is based on how other people view us – and I had succumbed to this.
My biggest areas of growth and struggle are my persistent laziness, avoiding discomfort at all costs, and quitting the moment something becomes challenging. These are the things that have left me without hobbies or investing in learning something new – my own barriers. Trying to create an interesting appearance was easier than actually learning or participating in something interesting. I wanted adoration and affirmation without any work (Which, you shouldn’t have interesting hobbies purely for that reason, but hopefully my point is being made). God has already made me special and interesting. He already gave me gifts. That doesn’t mean though that those gifts won’t require some nurturing and hard work. Also, an obvious heart change was needed because my focus for dressing well and having interesting hobbies was based on what other people thought.
I also delved deeper into my insecurities by addressing tendencies to compare myself to other women based on outward appearance, i.e. feeling hideous around a woman with great skin, beautiful hair, and a chic outfit who just got back from her international missions trip.
I have already began the journey about a year ago in addressing some of these issues but the continual spiritual growth and teaching is helping in learning more and pressing onward.
God is using the 7 Experiment to help me understand the simple goals I have for my rising adulthood. That is: that my time, possessions, and actions align with my beliefs and values. Anything else that doesn’t align with those needs to be phased out. Now, this is a lot of work and something I will be striving for probably the rest of my life, but is also simple enough to be achievable.
Living out of my gym bag went well this week. Despite feeling limited at times and wishing I could grab some of my other clothes, after my Fresno experience, I enjoy voluntary simplicity. It’s great not having to pick out an outfit but having everything pre-packed and planned. I did feel like I was pretty much wearing the same thing everyday, but as Jen mentions in her book, no one else cares or notices – just you. It is good for me to realize too that some people only have the clothes on their back and would see just the contents of my gym bag as a lot – always important to have perspective.
I took a log of all my clothes and despite the various phases of purging I have gone through – I still have quite a bit.
I did cheat with shoes… I couldn’t fit each pair I wanted because my athletic shoes take up so much space. Whoops.
Next up: Possessions.